This small guide is about buying and selling Hasselblad equipment on e-Bay. I have done both, and in the short time that I have done this have gained some interesting insight. I would like to share my experiences with you.
1. Many of the photographs on e-Bay are surprisingly weak in quality considering that photographers or dealers are selling the equipment. There is some extremely fine photography out there also.
2. If you think you would like to buy something on e-Bay, check the item or items out carefully. Download a copy of the image(s) and open them up in a picture software program such as Photoshop. For dark images, adjust the image for detail and contrast and brightness in order to see the items clear and well-presented.
3. Most of the people on e-Bay are honest people. I have bought some "less than quality" merchandise due to my desire of want. In all 3 cases the "problems" were quite visible and I should have examined the merchandise more carefully.
4. The purpose of carefully looking at something is to assure yourself that the item is what you want in both terms of the quality and condition. An item may be advertised as being able to be returned, but if the shipping costs are expensive, then are you going to ship it back in order to have it replaced?
5. Don't let your desire overpower your common sense. Take a careful look at the item and check out its' condition and price. There will always be more items of the same nature in the future to be bought. Set your top price in advance and don't go beyond that.
6. Ask questions, especially if the condition of the item or certain characteristics are not listed. For example, for Hasselblad lenses, ask if there is any fungus inside the lens, and are the shutter speeds up to par. On the older lenses (which are great for the price), there are 2 sets of shutter speeds - the slow (1 second to 1/4 second and the faster speeds of 1/8 to 1/500 second. The slow speeds sometimes slow down. I have found that they need to be put through periodic useage or exercise on a periodic basis to keep them within tolerances. Personally, if they are off slightly, it doesn't bother me that much. There is always bracketting (making a series of over and under exposures from what the meter indicates.
8. If you are planning to buy and sell, remember the following:
a. It's far easier to buy something that you want than it is to sell.
b. There will be shipping costs, taxes, conversion exchanges (if you are a Canadian or European) for buying.
c. For selling, there are the costs of listing and pictures and e-Bay commissions for selling your item.
d. If you think of being able to buy Hasselblad equipment in order to use it and then sell it at a slight loss for a faster and more assured sale (but not always), consider the loss in a positive way. Think of your being able to use great equipment at a fraction of the cost new, and then being able to sell it.
9. Be patient in terms of waiting for your item to arrive. If you are in another country, then shipping depends on several factors.
Canada Post works with Purolator for shipping certain items. As such, if you deposit the item in the local post office, then:
a. The item has to be picked up by the pick up truck, sorted at the Canada Post Office, and then shipped to the Purolator Depot. This might take a day or 2.
b. The item will then be sorted at the Purolator plant and then sent overseas, to Canada from the US or from the US to Canada. Once it is shipped across a border, the item will be held up at customs where it will have to be valued for purposes of duties or taxes. Canada and the US have Free Trade, but for items entering Canada there is the GST and PST taxes to be collected.
c. Be patient. If you want, some sellers will ship with a company (UPS, FedEx, Purolator, USPS, Canada Post) that will offer tracking numbers. The number can be entered at the respective shipper's site and tracked. You can even sign up to receive subsequent e-mails of your items' journey to you.
d. Some shippers choose the more expensive way of shipping while others choose less costly means of shipping. Different sellers or buyers are working from both experience and from the best way to send something.
You will find vast differences between the ways sellers and buyers ship and their respective costs. Once again, before you buy, ask the seller what the shipping costs are. If you find them too expensive, ask if they will ship by another method. It is not fair for you to complain or to give negative feedback because of the shipping costs. The costs will either be listed or you can ask.
e. More expensive or supposedly faster methods of shipment do not necessarily mean that the item will arrive faster. I have had items sent by airmail that took longer than slower methods. There are many factors to explain this, such as when the item was delivered to the shipper (AM or PM, Monday or Friday), how different customs officials work, weather, traffic, and so forth. Expect delays and also expect surprises of speedy deliveries.
I hope that this article helps you. It can also be applied to almost any article, so good luck with your buying or selling.